In 2000, Waitrose purchased 11 stores from rival Somerfield. During 2004, in order for Morrisons to meet competition regulations following its acquisition of Safeway, Morrisons had to sell 52 of the Safeway stores. The first batch of 19 stores were sold to Waitrose.
In August 2005 Waitrose purchased a further five former Safeway stores from Morrison’s. This took the firm as far north as Durham (now closed), fitting with its long term strategy to evolve into a national retailer. In December 2005, Waitrose also bought another store at Biggin Hill, south east London, from Morrison’s.
In March 2006, Waitrose announced the purchase of five additional branches, including two branches in Edinburgh, situated in Comely Bank and Morningside. The other three locations included Balham in South West London, Barbican in the City of London and Buxton in Derbyshire.
In July 2006, Waitrose announced it had purchased another six stores from Morrison’s and also a former Safeway regional distribution centre in Aylesford, Kent expanding Waitrose to 182 stores. The six stores which were rebranded into Waitrose are located at Hexham in Northumberland, Eastbourne in East Sussex, Formby in Merseyside, Parkstone in Poole, Dorset, Lymington in Hampshire and Portswood in Southampton, Hampshire. Since Morrisons began selling Safeway stores in order to meet competition regulations, Waitrose had purchased 31 stores from Morrison’s since 2000 and 16 from Somerfield.
In 2007 four new Waitrose branches opened, the first of which opened in Harborne in Birmingham. This was followed by Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester in July. The company also revealed plans to extend and refurbish a number of branches.
During 2007, Waitrose opened branches across the United Kingdom including Ampthill, Bedfordshire, replacing a Budgens store in September, a second Waitrose branch in the South at College Town, Sandhurst, Berkshire in November and also a newly built branch in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.
In March 2008, three branches were purchased from Budgens, in Buckingham, Bayswater, in West London. The same year, branches opened in Cardiff (Pontprennau), Crewkerne, Kenilworth, Newcastle upon Tyne, White City (Westfield London), Chiswick, Clapham, Edgware Road (the latter three purchased from Woolworths) and Nottingham. A Waitrose store in Banstead was destroyed by fire in December 2008.
In June 2008, Waitrose announced the acquisition of four Woolworths store sites for conversion to Waitrose branches in Chiswick, Battersea (Clapham Junction), Edgware Road (Marylebone) and Chapel Market, Islington. All these stores are now trading.
In January 2009, Waitrose announced that they had acquired 13 sites from The Co-operative Group to be converted into Waitrose branches in Bridport, Dorset; Headington, Oxfordshire; Haslemere, Surrey; Saxmundham, Suffolk; Ponteland, Northumberland, Croydon, Surrey; Upminster, Essex; Stamford, Lincolnshire; Holsworthy, Devon; Alcester, Warwickshire; Torquay, Devon; Caldicot, Monmouthshire/Sir Fynwy; Leigh-on-Sea, Essex; as well as building another nine branches to make a total of 22 new branches.
On 12 November 2009, Waitrose opened a new branch on Byres Road in Glasgow. This is after having purchased the preceding Somerfield store in this location. This is the first Waitrose branch situated in Glasgow. Also, a former Somerfield store in Stamford opened in June 2009.
Waitrose cited it was the largest expansion in the history of the company, by adding 4,000 partners and increasing to around 220 supermarkets.
Waitrose has entered into a licensing agreement with Spinneys of Dubai, United Arab Emirates to open three purpose-built branches, of which the first opened in the Dubai Mall in October 2008. Spinneys will convert 20 of their own stores to the Waitrose format by 2010. The company has a long term goal of opening 400 branches across the UK by 2017 and doubling its revenue to £8bn by 2016.
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Waitrose is involved in a new scheme to operate food halls in key stores of sister chain John Lewis. The stores are officially branded as ‘John Lewis Food Hall’ and use of the Waitrose brand is limited, but the stores do carry some Waitrose own-brand product lines. The staff uniform is also different to that of Waitrose. The first John Lewis Food Hall opened at the flagship London Oxford Street department store in October 2007; a second opened at the Bluewater branch in August 2009.
Also in early 2009, following a fire which destroyed a Waitrose main store in Banstead, Surrey, Waitrose took up temporary residence in the town’s former Woolworths store, vacated as a result of Woolworths’ collapse. The store was smaller than the damaged site but allowed Waitrose to maintain its presence in the area until the rebuilt main store re-opened on 26 November 2009.
In April 2009, Waitrose announced a franchise deal with Welcome Break (a motorway service area operator). The two Waitrose stores which are the smallest stores in the partnership opened at Welcome Break services in Oxford and South Mimms on 1 and 15 May 2009 respectively.
In Autumn 2009, Waitrose announced plans to expand its presence in the convenience store sector after successful trials of the format. These stores are smaller than the main Waitrose stores but allow the chain to retail a selection of keynote ranges in areas where there is not a suitable site for a large Waitrose supermarket. The firm also plans to expand on its presence at Welcome Break service stations. The firm has also signed a deal with Alliance Boots which will see Boots operating branded pharmacies and retailing health and beauty products through Waitrose stores; in return Boots stores will sell Waitrose food products.
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